The Importance of Good Posture [5 Convincing Reasons Why You Need It]

The Importance of Good Posture

Do you remember when your mother used to tell you not to slouch?

As is usually the case with motherly advice, she was on to something.

If you work in a hospital, it is not uncommon to see tired employees slouching in their seat, speaking on the phone with their shoulder cranked up to their neck while typing, and standing with their weights overly shifted to one side.

You can't blame them. It is difficult to be aware of your body position when your work life is so so busy. 

But what if I told you that the manner in which you sit, stand, and move can have a profound impact on your life- much larger than you'd expect.  

I too had horrible posture when I was in my early 20's- until I learned the importance of having good posture...

 
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This Series is Going to Cover

- The top 5 reasons why you should care about your posture during your busy workday

- The most common postural faults that busy professionals exhibit 

- How to improve your posture using exercise and other simple methods

 

So without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons why posture is something that you don't want to ignore.

 

1) Bad Posture can Lead to Nagging Pain

How many times have you heard someone complaining of muscular or joint pain at work?

If it's not their neck, it's their shoulder, their knees, or their back. 

I have had pain in just about every joint possible before I had any knowledge about posture.

What about you? Which one of your joints hurt?

Whenever someone tells me that they have nagging joint pain, I usually have to look no further than their natural postural positions.  

When evaluating musculoskeletal pain, it is important to look both upstream and downstream from the problem area.

For example, a poor thoracic position can lead to a forward head posture, ultimately resulting in neck pain and stiffness. Downstream, your thoracic position can also alter your lordotic curve which can contribute to low back pain.  

 
 

It doesn't end there, a poor thoracic position can also cause internal rotation of your shoulder joint, which can result in shoulder pain and a decreased range of motion.  

Our body is meant to function as one integral unit. 

Bad posture in one joint will result in significant strain and complications in multiple nearby joints.  Your body is only as strong as it's weakest link.

 

2) Bad Posture Can Lead to Movement Restriction

Our bodies are meant to exhibit a broad range of natural movements.  

You should be able to squat all the way down, reach completely straight overhead, and perform a bunch of other natural movements without any restriction.

Unfortunately, bad posture can cause your joints to become tight, stiff and painful, ultimately robbing them of their mobility.  In addition, these shortened muscular positions can lead to decreased blood flow to certain parts of your body further increasing pain and soreness.

When working through a full range of motion, our bodies are highly efficient.  

Just take a look at any kid playing in a park. They go all out. Try and emulate any of the movements that those kids are doing, and you will be embarrassed at what you discover.  

Squat full range of motion

"Here I am displaying a full range of motion as a kid"

Time and again, I see children executing flawless squats and other functional movements with impeccable technique.  

Even as an adult, you should still be able to perform several basic functional movements. Getting older is not an excuse to let your joints deteriorate.  This is preventable. It starts with fixing your posture.

 

3) Bad Posture Can Lead to Breathing Difficulty

Your diaphragm is one of the most important muscles in your body. When it contracts, it allows your lungs to expand and bring oxygen to your body.  

Believe it or not, bad posture can impair this process by creating a “restrictive” lung pattern.  This means your body habitus put your lungs in a compromised position, and thus they are unable to expand to their normal capacity.

Try this quick experiment.  Sit up tall and take as big a breath as you can.  Ensure that the breath is initiated from your diaphragm muscle and nowhere else (you can tell that you did this correctly if your belly rises without any movements in your shoulders, i.e. do not shrug). 

Now, slouch forward and bring your chin towards your belly.  Try and take another big breath. You will notice that you cannot inhale anywhere near as much as when you sit upright.  

In essence, people with bad posture are impairing their ability to expand their lungs to full capacity.  This is happening 14-16x a minute! 

posture and breathing

"Poor posture can compromise the diaphragm's ability to expand the lungs to their full capacity"

Less oxygen means less mental clarity, less nutrients to your muscles and less overall energy. You cannot afford to have compromised breathing as a busy professional.

 

4) Posture is Another Form of Body Language

If you want to convey an important message to someone, how will your posture affect the delivery of that message? Would you stand with your shoulders slouched and looking at the floor, or would you stand tall and look the person square. 

How about meeting someone for the first time?

This is especially important during an interview.  If you're not used to sitting up tall in your seat, you will feel uncomfortable trying to do so when it counts.

Good posture will always give a better first impression than bad posture. You do not have to walk around with your chest puffed out, but you should be cognizant of your body position throughout the day.  

It can say a lot about you.

 

5) Posture Declines as You Age

Its also important to note that the less attention you pay to your posture - the worse off your movement patterns and restrictions will get.  Like our income tax, postural deformities are progressive.  

Training functional exercises through their full range of motion will improve both strength development, and train your body to use better, more efficient postural positions.

Allowing your joints to move through their natural range of motion will reduce the possibility of strain and fatigue. Both of which chip away at our mobility over the years.  

Many cases of osteoarthritis are due to years and years of poor movement patterns that wreak havoc on our joints.

 

Here is a demonstration of the human body going through a full functional range of motion at every major joint

 

 

If you work on practicing good posture, and implement a smart resistance program (which you can find at, The Best Workout Template for Busy Professionals) into your regimen, you can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis!

 

So as you can see, ignoring your posture can lead to many undesirable complications. As a busy individual, you already have enough on your plate to worry about.

The good news is, many of these things are preventable. 

In addition, having good posture comes with a host of unique benefits. All it takes is a small amount of postural education on your part. Let's keep it going.

In Part 2,  You Probably Have Bad Posture- Here's How to Tell we discuss the most common postural mistakes and how to tell if you have them.  

Chances are you probably do.

Post your comments and questions below.  

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Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here